hristmas is an expensive time of the year. If you’re on a Christmas on a budget, this post is yours. You’ll learn how to save money for the holidays, stay out of debt, and even earn extra money to keep your holiday expenses in check.
Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
It’s sparkly, festive, and everything in between. From gifts to the celebration, it is just the best time of the year. That’s in my opinion.
There’s one thing that many people don’t like, that is, spending.It may be the best season of the year, but it sure is one of the most expensive seasons.
Believe it or not:
There are ways to save money during this holiday season. Some of these could help you:
- save $500 in a month
- reduce your Christmas spending by half
- get a lot of products for FREE
In this post, I will share with you the exact steps to make your holiday or Christmas budget work.
To keep you from “sleighing” your account, though, you need to set up your budget and make all efforts to stick to it.
FYI: Americans will be spending $720.89 billion this coming Christmas. That’s a lot of money.
6 Best Ways To Make and Save Money For Christmas
You can buy the things you need for you, your family, and your loved ones without shelling out a ton of money.
Here are some of the ways to save money for Christmas for shopping or something else that can or will help you reduce your season expenses this Christmas. If you want to know how to save $1,000 by Christmas, you are in the right spot.
These Christmas shopping tips help us save over $1,000 a year, especially that I have over 20+ brothers, sisters, parents, nephews, nieces, and my own family to give gifts to.
1. Save money by sharing your opinions
Who would have thought that you can get paid for sharing your opinions?
Here’s the truth:
I was skeptical about surveys, but then, I tried it. It made sense and made me money.
I particularly like Survey Junkie.
You won’t get rich from it, but you could easily earn upwards of $500/month or more just by filling out paid online surveys in your own spare time and save that money for Christmas.
The proof is in the details:
Tia, an SJ taker, made $615.56 in just ten days by taking surveys for a few minutes here and there.
Taking surveys can be fun, quick, and easy. You answer a few questions and get paid for your input. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
2. Make money and get cashback with Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a great way to save money for Christmas shopping. Believe it or not, it put $1,500 in my account in just a few months (see image above).
Here’s the kicker:
It’s a “you make money for whatever you do on the internet” type product. Whether you like getting paid to watch videos, reading news, buying on Amazon, or doing something else, there’s a way to make money from Swagbucks.
Other ways you can earn with Swagbucks include:
- Getting cash back through internet shopping (includes $5 bonus)
- Watching videos (includes $5 bonus)
- Surfing the internet (includes $5 bonus)
Click here to join Swagbucks and get a FREE $5 sign up bonus. You could save $1,000 by Christmas.
3. Get money back by checking price updates
Christmas is the season of never-ending fluctuating prices.
One day you may see the product you bought at 30% discount. Some other days, you may see it at 50% discount.
Here’s what to do:
If you’re looking for Christmas shopping tips, you need to look out for these price fluctuations. Make it one of your priorities.
Some brick and mortar stores will adjust the prices and give you back the difference.
Some credit cards will do the same thing. You can’t get the price difference from the stores and the credit cards at the same time. Click here to learn how to pay off credit cards debt.
I bought a computer a couple of weeks ago and found that the price went down a week after I bought it. I called my credit card company and asked for a price difference.
What did I get? I got the price difference without any problem.
4. Get automatic cashback (Earn as high as $500)
When you’re on a tight budget and want to learn how to make a budget, any saving is excellent even when it’s only a few cents.
If you ever plan on buying gifts online, make sure to activate Paribus.
What’s that? How can it save you money on Christmas for you?
Paribus will request reimbursement for the difference between the price you paid and the new lower price. Paribus is FREE and won’t take any cut from your savings.
That’s the best way to be on the budget, live cheap, and still, give gifts to other people.
As a fact, my wife and I have received at least $40 back in just three weeks because of Paribus.
Listen to this:
If you’re a spender, you could quickly get back more (not saying that you should spend more :-)).
Just so you know, you can use Paribus any season, but you’ll likely get more savings when you use this during Christmas season. Why? It’s because you are likely to spend more during this season than any other seasons.
Create a Paribus account here and start getting money back with no effort.
5. Sublet your home or apartment
A lot of us will travel during the Christmas season to be with our loved ones.
Here’s a tip:
If you are ok with subletting your apartment or your home for extra income during the holidays, do so.
Check out Airbnb, a worldwide network that makes hosting guests easy and safe at the same time.
Here’s the reality:
This is a good idea, especially if you are living in a tourist destination area or a place where people like to spend their holidays.
The money you earn from subletting can offset some of the Christmas expenses you may have. You could save $1,000 by Christmas and help you out when you have a Christmas budget that’s tight.
6. Use shopping reward websites
Here’s how it works:You need to access the retailer’s online store through a link from those reward sites.
For example, if you want to go to Walmart, you go to these reward sites and search for Walmart.
Once you see Walmart and click that link, you will get redirected to the Walmart site. Once you’re done shopping at Walmart, you’ll earn cash back, which is based on the % cashback stated on the cashback site.
This year alone, my wife and I made over $200 in cashback rewards.
Here are some of the cashback sites I highly recommend:
- MyPoints (Desktop l Mobile) (Get $10 gift card when you spend $20)
- Dollar Dig (Sign up and get $5 instantly)
10 Ways To Save Money On Christmas
While the above section discusses more on how to make and save money for this coming Christmas, this section is geared towards helping you spend as little money as possible during this Christmas shopping event (i.e., Christmas shopping tips).
If you are on a Christmas shopping on a budget, you’ll find these tips very useful. Here are they:
7. Get big discounts by buying items after Thanksgiving
The day after Thanksgiving officially and unofficially starts Christmas season.
Because a lot of products will be on sale, buy products during that time.
Also, because the dishes or meals served on Thanksgiving and Christmas days are pretty much the same (i.e., turkey and pumpkin desserts), you might as well get the stuff on sale if you have space to store them.
Things get more expensive as the days get closer to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
If you are shopping online after Thanksgiving day, use coupon apps, so you don’t have to find coupons to get the lowest possible prices for already-reduced prices. Honey will do that for you.
Other money hacks you need to consider include:
- Try Swagbucks. For sure, you’ll be doing a lot of searches, price comparisons, etc. You can do all those and get points redeemable for free gift cards or cash (all for FREE) through Swagbucks. Click my Swagbucks review here.
- Use Paribus. You’ll get some money back when the prices of the products you buy drop. Click my Paribus review here.
- Use Ibotta. For sure, you’re going to buy food for Christmas. Make sure you use Ibotta to get cash back on a lot of things related to groceries. Click this Ibotta review for more info.
8. Use grocery items as gifts
If you are on a tight Christmas budget and want to save boatloads of money on Christmas gifts, you can always give grocery items.
You wait for sales, look for clearance items, and use coupons to get additional discounts on those products.You just have to make sure you buy what those gift receivers need.
My wife and I have earned over $1,400 in almost two years using these shopping apps. These include Saving Star and Ibotta, which are, by far, my family’s favorite shopping apps. Check out this link for the best shopping apps to help you make and save money for Christmas.
If you try Ibotta app, you will receive $10 instantly. Yes, you’ll receive the $10 sign-up bonus when you redeem your first brand name rebate within seven days of account registration.
Read: Pantry Challenge: The Ultimate Guide You Need To Save Money on Groceries
9. Re-gift unused gifts
Is it ok to re-gift?
It may look improper to do just that, but it’s not ok either if you’re not going to use the gifts you received last holiday or during important occasions.
The next question is this:
So, when is a gift ok to be re-gifted? I use this checklist to ensure I don’t offend the person who gave me the gift and the next person to receive it will find it more valuable than I did or do.
- The gift was handmade just for you. This means that don’t give the gift to others if it is specially made just for you.
- The receiver of the gift would find (more) value in it.
- You think other people can better use the gift.
10. Ship gifts ahead of time (preferably do flat-rate shipping)
A lot of us have friends and family who are nowhere close to where we live.
A lot of times, we send them gifts through traditional means (i.e., postal mail).
Look:If you are shipping products to your loved ones, make sure to ship them ahead of time. You don't want to send gifts close to the Christmas Eve or Day.
You’ll likely have to pay additional costs to ensure the gifts get to their destinations on time.
If you’ve mailed gifts close to the Christmas day before, chances are you paid for overnight delivery or something similar to it. It’s best if you take extra effort to get everything done early.
After all, you’ll be happier and less stressed knowing that you’ve got every single gift you need before the holiday rush kicks in.
When your Christmas budget is tight, make sure to mail your gifts early.
11. Buy a real Christmas tree closer to the Christmas Eve
While you are tempted to buy a Christmas tree right away when Christmas season hits, resist that temptation.
Chances are, the cost of the tree will be high.
Wait for a couple of weeks or wait until a couple of days before the big day. Chances of you getting a good, deep-discounted price through haggling is higher.
Or you can always buy a fake Christmas tree, which will save you a ton of money in the long run.
Be sure to buy one after the Christmas season since Christmas stuff goes on sale or clearance right after the Christmas day.
12. Make your own Christmas party a potluck
If you like hosting a Christmas party, change it a bit this year.
Here’s a doable solution:
You can always tell people that your party will be a potluck party. It may sound strange but come to think of it.
If you can’t cook or don’t have a lot of time, you can use some online grocery delivery services to help you make your meal quick and easy.
You can also use some of the best meal kit services for help as well.
When you invite people to a party, they usually or almost always bring some dish, beverage, or something else.
So, when you want to learn how to save money for Christmas but still want to host a party, then, a potluck party is the route to go.
13. Watch classic movies
Once the cooking, eating, cleaning, and opening of presents are done, my family goes to the living room, get into our position (i.e., take a seat), and watch our favorite Christmas movies.
Some of us, though, will stay in the dining room and chat for countless hours.
But for those of us who go straight to the living room, we watch our favorite movies.
We always love to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Elf, and Home Alone 1 and 2. Those are staples in my family, and we never get tired of watching them.
You do not have to spend money to watch your favorite movies.
If you have Netflix and Hulu, good for you because there are so many great shows there, if you do not have either of two, don’t worry and do not spend a lot of money to go to theaters. TV networks do show Christmas movies, too.
Plus, you can always run to the small kiosk, that is, Redbox to get some movies.
14. Book your flight as early as possible
You probably know this already, that is, the closer the date is to your departure, the more expensive the airfare is especially during big holidays like Christmas.
Book your flight ahead of time.
According to Travelocity, airfare prices are the lowest during the first week of November.
15. Cook and bake
Christmas would not be Christmas without good food and good company.
Cooking and baking are ways you can interact with your loved ones.
Just because you are bad in either of the two doesn’t mean you can’t help out. If you are that bad, you can help with getting all the ingredients on the table, chopping the vegetables, cleaning the stove, etc.
Kitchen has always been a place where everybody can be loud. At least, in my family, the kitchen is still where we talk a lot.
We spend a lot more time in the kitchen than in our living and dining rooms.
If you have a big family like ours, you will spend a whole lot of time cooking and baking. So, why not make the most out of the time you guys have in the kitchen? Get your apron on and have fun with cooking and baking.
Your kitchen will look like a mess, but I’m quite sure you will have a good time when you’re working together with your loved ones to make your Christmas meal or feast.
16. Buy discounted discount gift cards
That’s not a typographical error. If you’re looking for Christmas shopping tips, this is it.
If you cannot figure out what to buy for your loved ones, but you know their favorite stores, places to shop, among others, then, gift cards are the best substitutes to traditional gifts. You can buy gift cards for $5, $10, $15, and so on.
This does not mean you need to buy gift cards at full price.
I go to the following websites to buy my gift cards either for my family to save a ton of money or those who I will give presents to. I use these gift cards for gas, groceries, and other necessities.
- Raise.com (Get $5 when you sign up through this link)
- Cardpool.com (Buy gift cards for up to 35% off or sell yours for up to 92% cashback. Plus, you will get $5 when you sign up through this link)
- Restaurant.com (My wife uses restaurant.com when we dine out. I say, you never have to pay full price when you use this site)
You can also get free Amazon gift cards here.
How To Make Christmas Budget That Works
Spending during Christmas is, most of the time, given. It will happen whether we like it or not.
That said, it doesn’t mean that we need to spend a lot of money to have a great Christmas season. You can make a reasonable (or sometimes) tight Christmas budget and still have the best time ever.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Plan how much you’ll spend on Christmas
Before you plan anything for Christmas, figure out how much you’d want to spend for this season.
The average American’s holiday expense is roughly $1,000. That’s a lot, if you ask me.
That said, don’t feel the pressure that you need to spend as much as the average American does every single year.
The amount you should spend is based on how much you feel is enough or comfortable. So, it’s time to figure out how much is reasonable and go from there.
2. Create a Christmas budget for everyone
Once you’ve identified the amount you want to allot for Christmas, figure out how much you’ll spend on each person you want to give a gift to.
Here’s what the budget looks like:
|Family Member #1||$150.00||$130.00|
|Family Member #2||$135.00||TBD|
3. Track your spending as you go
Using the budget layout above, you can easily track your spending. Jot down what you’ve spent on gifts for each person on your list.
You’ll see then if you’re overspending, underspending, or spending the right amount. You’ll also find out if you have excess money or are on your way to blowing up your budget.
4. Move money when needed
Sometimes, you may spend a little less for a person than what you budgeted for. That’s ok.That's because sometimes, you'll overspend as well.
That’s why it’s best to track your spending and move money around to accommodate some expenses you don’t expect.
Note: As long as you are aligned with your budget, you don’t have to worry about overspending.
Christmas Shopping On A Budget: Conclusion
These are some of the money hacks that can or will save you a ton of money during the Christmas season. You don’t need to squeeze your budget to be on a budget.
Sometimes, all you need is a simple tweak on things that you do during the Christmas season.
Christmas should be and is the time to be festive, happy, and feel loved. Don’t let a tight budget strict or prevent you from having the best Christmas you’ll ever have.
What Christmas shopping tips do you have? How much do you think you will save using these simple, actionable hacks?